Submarine Cables in Africa

 

Africa is irrefutably one of the most important growth markets globally embracing digital transformation enabled by resurgent economic progress,

Among the 54 African countries recognized by United Nations, there are 38 countries that have seashore and 16 that are land locked. Out of these 38 countries that have seashore, 37 countries have at least one submarine cable landing. The lone exception is Eritrea, considering Western Sahara is considered disputed territory.

By the end of 2019, among the 37 countries that have at least one subsea cable landing, 11 countries have only 1 subsea cable, 10 countries have 2 subsea cables, 6 have 3 subsea cables, and 10 have more than 3.

The map below depicts a full and colorful picture about African Undersea Cables.

African Undersea CablesAfrican Undersea Cables, by Steve Song, Many Possibilities

 

 There are also excellent insights and summary on submarine cables business in Africa in the following articles:

African subsea cables
Submarine cables in Africa, by Suvesh ChattopadhyayaSubmarine Cables for Africa – A close look at 2019-21

 

Djibouti is a significant location for submarine cables running through the Asia, Africa and Europe corridor or connecting the East Africa.

Since the merger the Telecommunications Department of the Office of Posts and Telecommunications (OPT) and the International Telecommunication Company of Djibouti (STID) in 1999, Djibouti Telecom has become the incumbent and monopoly of national and international telecommunications throughout Djibouti. Djibouti Telecom is today a leading strategic center for international telecommunication services in East Africa with its underlying network infrastructure including international submarine cables and terrestrial cables (between Djibouti-Somali, and Djibouti-Ethiopia).

Djibouti Telecom has built two cable landing stations, the YAC A Cable Landing Station (YAC A CLS) and the Haramous Cable Landing Station (Haramous CLS).  There are now eight submairne cables and two terrestrial cables connecting Djibouti to the world.

Subsea cables landing at the YAC A CLS:

  • AAE1
  • ADEN-DJIBOUTI
  • SEACOM
  • SMW3
  • DARE1 

Subsea cables landing at the Haramous CLS:

  • EIG
  • EASSy
  • SMW5
  • DJIBOUTI-ETHIOPIA (terrestrial cable)
  • DJIBOUTI-SOMALIA (terrestrial cable)

Besides the YAC A and Haramous cable landing stations, the Djibouti Data Center (DDC) represents a key telecom infrastructure in Djibouti.

Launched commercial operations in 2013, the DDC is a carrier neutral data center in Djibouti. The DDC building is adjacent to the Haramous CLS, and connected by diverse dark fiber paths to the Haramous CLS and the YAC A CLS,  connecting all transoceanic and regional cable systems landing in Djibouti. Backhaul to any subsea cable head can be ordered directly from the DDC, although it is provided by Djibouti Telecom. 

 

Djibouti Cable Landing Stations

There are now 5 submarine cables landing in Kenya, including: 

Telkom Kenya owns a 23% stake in TEAMS, a 10% stake in LION2 and 2.6% stake in EASSy. 

The geographic position of Egypt allows for an efficient crossing from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea for submarine cable systems.

TE being Egypt’s only fixed network operates the TE Transit Corridor, which comprises the terrestrial infrastructure linking the two Seas, over multiple diverse and redundant routes. Additional terrestrial routes over the Sinai Peninsula add to the unique resilience of the TE Transit Corridor and favourable submarine cable build economics by avoiding shallow waters.

There are now four cable landing stations in Egypt, Abu Talat CLS and Alexandria CLS in the northwards to the Mediterranean Sea, Suez CLS and Zafarana CLS in the south and the Red Sea.

Cables landing at the Abu Talat CLS:

Cables landing at the Zafarana CLS:

Cables landing at the Alexandria CLS:

Cables landing at the Suez CLS: